COVID-19 Update: Since the medical alert industry is considered to be “essential” during the COVID crisis, monitoring and customer service centers are still open and ready to help. To learn more about how a medical alert device can help keep you or your elderly loved one safe and connected during this pandemic, take a look at our list of essential products for seniors during COVID-19.

Pacemakers are tiny, high-tech medical devices used to treat life-threatening heart conditions, such as arrhythmia. Over one million cardiac pacemakers are implanted worldwide each year, and according to Harvard-affiliated cardiologist Dr. Peter Zimetbaum, “The likelihood of needing a pacemaker increases with age.” Some newer pacemakers, known as implantable cardioverter defibrillators or ICDs, also include a defibrillator that can shock the heart back into a normal pattern if the heart should stop.

Because pacemakers are only installed in people who have a serious cardiac condition, these patients often face a higher risk of suffering a sudden medical emergency. Medical alert systems provide instant access to a 24-hour call center at the touch of a button, giving pacemaker patients and their loved ones added peace of mind. These lightweight devices are worn either around the neck or on the wrist to ensure users can always call for help, even if they’re unable to reach a telephone.

Are Pacemakers Compatible With Medical Alert Systems?

One of the most common concerns pacemaker patients have is whether or not an electronic device will interfere with the function of their pacemaker. While it’s true that many types of machines, such as welders, microwave ovens and antitheft systems, emit electromagnetic waves and may interfere with ICDs and pacemakers, medical alert systems are completely safe for use by pacemaker owners.

In fact, almost all of the medical alert devices available in the United States have been tested to verify that they won’t interfere with implanted medical devices, however, it’s always a good idea to speak with your doctor before investing in a medical alert system.

It’s also important to note that medical alert systems don’t actually work directly with the pacemaker. This means that if the pacemaker stops working or if a patient with an ICD is shocked by the device, they’ll need to manually activate the medical alert button to call for help. Some medical alert systems do have automatic fall detection which initiates a call to the emergency monitoring center, a feature that may be worth considering for pacemaker patients.

In this article we cover the three best medical alert systems for people with pacemakers, including device features and options along with some tips you can use to find the ideal help button for yourself or your loved one.

The 3 Best Medical Alert Systems Compatible for Pacemakers

Bay Alarm Medical

Bay Alarm Medical consistently ranks high for reliability, affordability and customer satisfaction. They have a number of in-home and mobile medical alert systems starting at under $20 per month, and there are no installation or activation fees. Help buttons are available as either wrist-worn or pendant styles.

Pacemaker patients who spend most of their time at home may want to consider one of the in-home systems that have a range of up to 1000 feet from the help button to the in-home base unit. Those who are looking for 24/7 protection at home and in the community should consider Bay Alarm Medical’s On the Go device, an all-in-one medical alert pendant that lets callers speak directly with an emergency operator anywhere cellular service is available. Fall detection is available on all of Bay Alarm Medical’s systems.

Bay Alarm Medical is also the only medical alert company that has a vehicle medical alert system. This portable device combines advanced crash-detection technology with GPS tracking and a cellular-connected help button to provide extra peace of mind to pacemaker patients who drive. When the device is plugged into the 12V outlet of a car, truck or van and a crash is detected, the device automatically pinpoints the exact location of the user and calls the emergency response center.

Medical Guardian

In addition to having the usual medical alert systems, Medical Guardian offers the Freedom Guardian, a smartwatch-style medical alert device that includes GPS location tracking, medication reminders, activity monitoring and even voice-to-text SMS messaging capabilities.

We’ve included Medical Guardian on our list of the three best medical alert systems for pacemaker users because the company offers a number of features that go above and beyond basic emergency call monitoring services. The Freedom Guardian device may appeal to pacemaker patients who dislike the idea of wearing a medical alert device, and all of their help buttons are UL listed for safety.

MobileHelp

We’ve included MobileHelp on our list of the three best medical alert systems for those with pacemakers because this company has a solid reputation for reliable service and they have a number of easy-to-use devices. They also operate exclusively on mobile networks, eliminating any restrictions on where their medical alert buttons work.

In addition to the traditional medical alert monitoring service, MobileHelp has a number of optional services that may be valuable to pacemaker and ICD patients. Activity tracking and medication reminders can be added to the monthly monitoring plan for a small fee, and the MobileHelp Connect App lets users and trusted loved ones monitor activity levels, location and any calls to the emergency response center.

Why Medical Alert Systems Can be a Smart Investment for Pacemaker Patients

While pacemakers are exceptionally stable and reliable, like all electronics, they can fail from time to time. Loose or damaged wires, a weak battery or interference from an electromagnetic field can cause pacemakers and ICDs to stop working correctly. If that happens, the patient may suffer from a serious, life-threatening medical emergency.

Medical alert systems can provide much-needed assurance for pacemaker patients and their loved ones by ensuring the patient can call for help 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, without ever needing to dial a phone. While a medical alert device can’t prevent a medical emergency, it can dramatically improve a favorable outcome by cutting down the time it takes to get essential medical services.

How to Pick the Right Medical Alert System for a Pacemaker Patient

When shopping for a medical alert system for yourself or a loved one who has a pacemaker or combination pacemaker/defibrillator device, start by considering where you need coverage. Medical alert systems connect to an emergency call center through either an existing landline phone or via an embedded cellular SIM card. A landline-based system may be sufficient for users who spend most of their time inside their home, while those who want complete coverage in their yard, throughout their neighborhood and in other states should look for a system that works using mobile phone networks.

Consider a medical alert system that offers automatic fall detection, since this feature provides additional protection if the subscriber suffers from a fall that renders them unable to manually activate their help button. Also look for a device that’s fully waterproof so it can be safely worn in the shower and consider whether you’d prefer a help button that’s worn on the wrist or around the neck.

Many companies also offer PIN-protected lockboxes to store a key so first responders have access to a home in the event of an emergency. If a user is unable to open their door, the emergency call operator can give the PIN code to 911, so police, fire or ambulance personnel can quickly enter the home using the key in the lockbox.

With so many medical alert systems for people with pacemakers to choose from, with a little research from our resources, you’ll be able to find the right one to fit your needs and budget.